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ALEX_ZIELINSKI.jpg
ALEX ZIELINSKI

Good afternoon, Portland! Here's the latest on local news, national news, and a little bit of fun.

In local news:

• The city has unveiled new guidelines regarding when homeless encampments on public property can be subject to removal by city contractors during the pandemic. Starting immediately, the city's Homelessness and Urban Camping Impact Reduction Program (HUCIRP) will be giving 48-hour removal notices to camps that are determined to be a fire risk by Portland Fire and Rescue, that have been the source of verified criminal activity, that prevent ADA compliance, that impede school operations, or camps that are close to untreated sewage or biohazard materials. IN OTHER WORDS: It just got easier for the city to sweep away unhoused folks.

• Following the release of an absolutely scathing report about mismanagement at Portland's Office of Community & Civic Life, OPB is reporting that the city paid former bureau director Suk Rhee a full year's salary in exchange for her resignation earlier this month. That means Rhee, whom the report identified as one of the creators and enablers of a toxic workplace at the office, got paid $178,000 to quit.

• A recent decision by the US Supreme Court has left the fate of hundreds of incarcerated Oregonians in the hands of Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. Read up on the latest in Oregon's ridiculous non-unanimous jury saga from our own Alex Zielinski.

• The Oregon Employment Department announced today that it will finally start to update its archaic 1990s unemployment benefit computer system. The state was supposed to update this system back in 2009, but failed to do so—leading Oregon to have one of the slowest unemployment payout rates in the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new system won't be in place until 2024.

In national news:

• As you may have heard, a case headed to the Supreme Court has the potential to limit or even overturn Roe v. Wade. With a current 6-3 conservative majority on the Court, abortion advocates are worried what this will mean for access. The New York Times made a map that shows which states would limit abortion most severely if Roe were overturned.

• President Joe Biden reportedly told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he expects the Israeli violence against Palestinians to come to an end—today. However, Biden has stopped short of issuing a public, flat condemnation of Israel's actions.

• The governor of Tennessee has signed into law two fucked-up, anti-trans "bathroom bills," because the conservative imagination is obsessed with where and how Americans piss and shit. These bills will require restaurants to hang a sign outside notifying customers if they allow trans people to use their restrooms (the idea being that cis people are being "warned), and will bar schools from letting trans kids use the restrooms that align with their genders.

• And hey, here's some cool news: Singer Demi Lovato came out as non-binary today. We're happy for them!

And just for fun:

• Craving local barbecue? We've got you covered.

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• Finally, here's proof that some things just simply cannot, and do not need to be, improved upon: